Palo Alto, California, September 21, 2020 – Jennifer Nagrath, Ph.D., recent graduate of Sofia’s Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology program published her first article, ‘Investigating the Efficacy of Equine Assisted Therapy for Military Veterans With Posttraumatic Stress Symptomology,’ earlier this month.
The article highlights a unique approach in trauma-focused psychotherapy revolving around the growing field of Equine Assisted Therapy (EAT), a non-traditional, experimental methodology centered on the therapeutic benefits of equines.
Nagrath’s study included the participation of 50 veterans, half of which completed 3-hour weekly EAT sessions for 10 weeks, while the remaining 25 received regular treatment. Statistical results for those that underwent the EAT sessions displayed a meaningful reduction in PTSD scores post-intervention, highlighting the need for further examination of potential benefits. Further research of EAT treatment could lead to significant outcomes of holistic health for veterans with PTSD symptomology.
What was your motivation for this article piece?
During Spring Seminar (2020), there was a presentation (in the virtual seminar) by Stuart Sigman, Ph.D. – Publishing 101 – that sparked an interest and I was intrigued by the idea of converting my 160+ page dissertation into just 20 pages for publication. The rest is history!
Is the topic of military veterans a personal one for you?
I have close friends who have served (with multiple deployments) but more importantly, I am committed to seeking ways to help those that are marginalized or disenfranchised – in a way working with veterans (with PTSD) was an opportunity to conduct research in the service of other.
What does it mean to have your piece published in the Journal of Veteran Studies?
This is my first ‘official’ publication – I am deeply humbled but feel empowered to be recognized in academia for my work.
What advice would you give people working on having their work published?
- Believe in your research with a passion.
- Be prepared to write, rewrite, write, rewrite (on repeat:) – I practiced a kind of free-form writing style for several months to mentally understand the process, critical analysis, etc. What helped me was setting aside time in my calendar to stay committed to writing.
- Welcome feedback – I believe feedback is key that provides another perspective/point of view that is very helpful in broadening your thinking/worldview but also directly helps to strengthen the final publication. More importantly, receiving feedback really helped me to understand the importance of writing from the perspective of the reader.
How long have you been working on this article?
I worked on the article in the Spring Quarter (April – June 2020).
How did your education at Sofia prepare you for this type of work/article?
I was the Student Speaker for the Master’s in Transpersonal Psychology Program when I graduated and am sharing the link to the speech that will give you a glimpse of how I felt about the education I received at Sofia:
Further, all of the instructors for the Ph.D. program that I have worked with have led their courses with professionalism, expertise, compassion, and an openness to dialogue. Each one of them brought a depth of knowledge that challenged, motivated, empowered, and transformed my thinking, writing, and helped me stay true to my purpose of engaging in research in the service of others. More importantly, they believed in me/my work, and their deep sense of humanity/support fueled my confidence, creativity, and continued passion for studying/research. I am grateful to each of them and thankful for the learning opportunity at Sofia that has provided for a profoundly holistic journey in academia/academic research.
What brought you to Sofia?
When I joined Sofia in 2015, my professional career as a social services advocate, leader, and strategist for a nonprofit organization in the Greater Cincinnati area involved designing and implementing a wide array of culturally sensitive programs and services to empower and strengthen Asian Americans through the organization’s mission focusing on awareness, collaboration, and advocacy. Through a wide spectrum of program offerings — such as health and wellness, youth leadership and empowerment, aging and caregiving, refugee programs, and supporting victims of abuse — the intent was to provide a dynamic platform for the disenfranchised and marginalized voices to be heard and be able to leverage their needs at the national, state, and local governmental agencies.
With this background, moving forward in academia was a way of seeking to elevate my mind/body/spirit consciousness. Essentially, I wanted to learn to position myself not only as an active change-agent for others but also to be open to change and therefore find new ways to bring change in self/community and to empower others to achieve their full potential. To this end, I was drawn to the curriculum of the Global Master’s Program in Transpersonal Psychology (GMATP) at Sofia that offered the opportunity to engage in experiential, holistic learning that supports growth, as well as the concept of understanding interconnectedness beyond personal boundaries (transpersonal). I was also drawn to the professional concentrations that were offered, “Creativity & Innovation” and “Spiritual Psychology” – both were a perfect fit with my background.
After completion of my Masters in 2017, I decided to continue on with the Ph.D.
Are there any other projects you’re working on or may look into in the future?
Currently, I am still engaged in research for veterans with PTSD. But, I am also looking into continuing in academia with a post-doctoral program focusing on clinical psychology/research or alternatively to teach in a university setting.
Jennifer Nagrath is a passionate social services advocate who has advanced healthcare initiatives at the national, state, and local levels. An approachable and experienced thought-leader, Nagrath applies compassion and common sense to resolve challenges within the communities she serves. She has demonstrated the ability to identify, develop and implement inclusive solutions that drive systemic change, from vision and strategy to execution and long-term sustainability. Throughout her decades of leadership in the non-profit sector, she has developed a comprehensive understanding of research and development, organizational behavior, ethics and financial management.
Nagrath relocated from Ohio to Florida to serve as the Assistant Director of Research and Development at McCormick Research Institute in 2019. Her experience with disenfranchised groups seeded a passion for the trauma-related studies that underpins her doctoral research and service to McCormick. Jennifer’s work involves reviewing literature that covers trauma-focused psychotherapy incorporating equine-assisted activities, providing critical analysis of standardized psychometric measures, developing rigorous research methodology, and offering curriculum development recommendations. One of Nagrath’s most important roles at McCormick is to ensure the rigor and integrity of the research as the organization refines evidence-based treatment strategies that may serve as a benchmark for equine-assisted psychotherapy providers. As well, Jennifer works closely with the Research and Development Advisory Committee. This multi-disciplinary advisory team includes leading industry and academic experts in the areas of PTSD, Cognitive Processing Therapy, Emotional Intelligence, Psychiatry, Veteran Affairs, as well as partners from the public sector.
Prior to joining McCormick, Jennifer launched and led two thriving and respected non-profits, and pioneered notable community, educational, social, and family programs: From 2000-2012, she served as a Co-Chair for Procter & Gamble International Transferees Inc., a non-profit organization that helps Procter & Gamble employees, partners, and families assimilate into their new communities; In 2000, Nagrath also was part of a group of four women that founded a nonprofit, Asian Community Alliance, a Cincinnati based organization that promotes cultural awareness and provides educational programs to empower, inspire, and foster healthy families and communities. Nagrath’s work with the Asian Community Alliance (ACA) has been recognized by Ohio Governor Ted Strickland for raising awareness on Asian American Health, recognition from the Mayor of Cincinnati for Hepatitis B initiatives for Asian Americans as well as a Community Service Award from the YWCA of Cincinnati in recognition of the organization’s work with domestic violence in the community.
Jennifer holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Psychology, a Master’s degree in Psychology with specializations in innovation, creativity, and spirituality, and a Bachelor’s degree with a double major in accounting and income tax.
Jennifer was born in India, has lived in five countries (India, Hong Kong, China, Japan, & the United States). She is passionate about serving others and is dedicated to a lifetime of empowering people to achieve their full human potential.